I Tried to Eat Like Gwyneth Paltrow for a Week...and Made It Only 4 Days
I’ve always appreciated Gwyneth Paltrow as an actress, and I’ll occasionally skim a Goop article, but I was never exactly a superfan. But after the 2019 Golden Globes, I’ve become enamored with her. It all began with the sheer, tiered Fendi gown she wore to present the award for Best Supporting Actress. It was fun, sexy and quirky all at once, and although it got mixed reviews on social media, I absolutely adored it. I needed to know more. Not just about the dress, but about the 47-year-old woman who somehow looked stunning in brown ruffled granny panties and a matching brassiere. Soon, I found myself watching interviews from 15 years ago on YouTube, scrolling deep into her Instagram and reading everything I could find about GP’s beauty and fitness routines.
During one recent YouTube binge, I discovered a video from Harper’s Bazaar in which Gwyneth outlines everything she eats in a day. And while I might not be able to afford Tracy Anderson Method Studio classes (Gwyneth's workout of choice) multiple times a week or a $75 candle of questionable scent, I could absolutely eat like Gwyneth if I truly wanted to. And I truly did.
So I sat down and meal planned for literally the first time ever so I could mimic the diet of my new health, wellness and entertainment obsession. Here’s how it went.
First of all, what does Gwyneth Paltrow eat in a day?
Gwyneth starts her day with one or two large glasses of water followed by a cup of coffee, enjoyed while she catches up with her husband, Brad Falchuk. Next comes two packets of GoopGlow Morning Skin Superpowder ($60 for a pack of 30) mixed with water, which she drinks during and after her workout. You might be wondering when an actual breakfast comes into play. The answer is never. (Or more accurately, rarely.)
Breakfast for Gwyneth consists of the occasional smoothie packed with “good fats,” protein and fiber, or a peanut butter protein bar. In her interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Gwyneth claims she can’t remember the name of these bars despite adoring them and eating them all the time. At first this seems implausible, until I remember that this is the same woman who straight-up forgot that she was in Spider-Man: Homecoming, so in truth it’s actually very on brand.
Gwyneth eats lunch between noon and 12:30 p.m. at the Goop offices and generally mooches off whatever yummy recipes her test kitchen is cooking up that day. At 3 or 4 p.m. she starts feeling snacky, so she drinks green tea and has something salty, like pretzels or cashews. (So far, I relate to this part of her day more than any other.)
Because of her kids’ busy schedules, Gwyneth tries to sit her family down for dinner at 6 or 6:30 p.m. Lucky for me, she’s a big fan of one-pot and one-pan dinners. She’s not keen on drinking much during the week but will occasionally treat herself to a Gibson (a vodka martini with cocktail onions) or Japanese whiskey on the rocks. As someone who feels tipsy after two glasses of wine, I worry that one strong Gibson might have me dancing on my coffee table, so it’s unlikely I’ll be imbibing these particular treats.
And what about cheat meals or off-limits foods? Gwyneth admits to indulging in an egg sandwich when hungover, considering a plate of fries and a glass of dry white wine to be an acceptable meal, and loving a big plate of pasta. On the flip side, she won’t eat dill, baby mammals (like lamb or veal) or octopus (she once went down an internet rabbit hole on how intelligent they are and is now just too weirded out to eat them). Noted.
What did I expect the next few days to look like?
Realistically, Gwyneth’s diet didn’t sound like too much of a stretch. I was thrilled I could still enjoy my daily coffee and a salty afternoon snack. But as someone with a major sweet tooth, I was definitely worried about sugar withdrawal (she didn’t mention desserts of any kind). I was also a little concerned about her minimal breakfasts. Did I hope to end the week with glowing skin and Tracy Anderson–approved abs? Of course I did, but every week I hope that I will somehow miraculously acquire these things after one green juice or Barry’s Bootcamp session. I also hoped that this experiment would give me a little insight into just how healthy or sustainable Gwyneth’s lifestyle really is. To keep things as close as possible to her actual diet, I decided to be strict about sticking to the suggested serving sizes of each of Gwyneth’s recipes.
I wake up and start my day with a nice, big glass of water. This actually felt surprisingly refreshing and woke me up a lot more than I expected it to. I brew some coffee while feeding my two kittens, then sit at the table to relax and ease my way back into the workweek (i.e., lazily check emails, look up directions to my morning appointment and check the weather). Gwyneth doesn’t mention how she takes her coffee, but I find it hard to imagine that she uses sugar or much milk. This is great for me because I prefer black coffee anyway. While the Goop guru says she uses this time to hang out with her husband, my boyfriend is still asleep, so I decide to bond with my two kitties instead. (This largely involves me trying to teach them not to jump up on the kitchen counter. It is not going well.)
I don’t have time to fit in a workout this morning, but not even Gwyneth works out seven days a week, so I feel this is acceptable. Instead, I mix my GoopGlow Morning Superpowder in water to drink on my subway ride to work.
When I get to work, I usually have coffee and breakfast of some sort (a croissant or bowl of cereal), so my body thinks I should be eating and I’m already hungry. Gwyneth’s distinct lack of breakfast might turn out to be a bigger issue than I’d anticipated. My coworker is eating a bagel with cream cheese, and I have never been more jealous of anyone in my life. There aren’t really any places near the PureWow offices to buy a smoothie, so instead I eat some smoothie-esque snacks: almond butter, a banana and an espresso-size cup of almond milk scavenged from our office kitchen. (Hey, GP is resourceful and eats food from her office too.) It’s surprisingly filling.
I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store this weekend, so I order lunch. There’s a Sweetgreen in the lobby of our building, which is an excellent place to create a nutritious, organic, Gwyneth-approved meal. I comb through a few salad recipes on Goop and watch a video interview with Gwyneth and Sweetgreen cofounder Nicolas Jammet to compose a salad that Gwyneth would probably order: shredded kale, miso-glazed vegetables, toasted almonds and wild rice. It’s tasty and pretty filling, but I do miss adding that free slice of bread to my order.
I never realized exactly how much I typically snack in a day. I’m not even really hungry, but I really want to chew something. I’m also itching for some sugar. Our office has free candy everywhere, so I’m finding it really tough to fight the urge. Despite my major cravings, I think I should be able to tough it out until snack time.
I manage to distract myself with work (thank goodness) until it’s finally time for cashews and a green tea. Determined to make this snack satiate me until dinner, I eat my nuts and sip my tea thoughtfully instead of shoveling them into my mouth. This is extremely difficult.
Gwyneth and her family would be sitting down to eat dinner by now, but I’ve only just come home from work and a trip to the grocery store. I plan to attempt making chicken chow mein, a recipe in GP’s second cookbook, It’s All Easy. This is when I begin to worry. I rarely cook, and when I do, I have a tendency to fail in odd and unexpected ways. (I once messed up a two-step chicken tikka masala recipe where all you had to do was cook the chicken and dump in some prepackaged sauce.) I accidentally bought linguine instead of fettuccine (she suggests this as an alternative to udon noodles) and overheat my pan, basically flash cooking the chicken. But ultimately, the recipe is easy to follow, doesn’t take too long and tastes great (although I would suggest using low-sodium tamari, as it is a bit too salty). I feel full enough after eating the suggested serving size, but again wish I could sneak in a square of chocolate or even a glass of wine for dessert.
One day down, six more to go.
I wake up ridiculously early to squeeze in a 7 a.m. workout class before going to the office. I’m able manage my large glass of water, but I don’t have time to make or drink coffee before running to Barry’s Bootcamp.
After my workout and a quick shower, I grab a smoothie from Barry’s Fuel Bar. I’m obsessed with the Green Latifah smoothie, which contains Gwyneth-approved protein, fat and fiber (almond butter, almond milk, vanilla whey and spinach). It also has mango for some sweetness and I’m pleasantly full by the time I finish walking across town to PureWow HQ.
I finally get my cup of coffee. I drink it while catching up on emails and bonding with my husband deskmate, David, so at least I get the spirit of Gwyneth’s morning coffee down, even if it’s a few hours late.
I reheat my leftover chicken chow mein and eat my lunch. Just like yesterday, I’m decently full but craving something sweet. I didn’t realize how tough it would be cut off my candy habit cold turkey.
I make myself a green tea and grab a handful of salted almonds, sourdough pretzel bites and a few raisins. Usually in the afternoon, if I’m bored of drinking water, I’ll have coffee or black tea. But green tea is just as satisfying, and thanks to the lower caffeine content, I don’t worry that I won’t be able to fall asleep tonight.
At this point I realize that even though I do feel satiated after each meal or snack for about 30 minutes, overall I’ve been feeling hungry more often than full. I start to wonder if the amount of food I’m eating is really enough to keep me going for the entire week.
Somehow, despite leaving work early with the intention of eating dinner within Gwyneth’s 6 to 6:30 p.m. range, I don’t end up eating until now. I chose to make a Goop recipe, savory oats with mushrooms and egg, because it’s a combination of three of my favorite foods and I get to put cheese and butter in it. I didn’t read the directions carefully enough before deciding to make the recipe, and I guess I missed the fact that you need to stir the oats continuously for 30 minutes, like risotto. So even though the recipe only took 40 to 45 minutes from start to finish, I was actively involved the entire time. I’d rather do a few minutes of prep and leave the rest of the work to the oven or stove top, but I soldier on anyway.
In the end, this dinner is delicious, and all the stirring was worth it. You could pop a show up on Netflix to watch while you stir (perhaps the Goop docuseries?), which I now wish I’d done. Gwyneth’s recipe calls for one egg per serving, but I made two (sorry, but I’m starving at this point). I feel full, cozy and happy by the end of the meal. Definitely satisfied but not overly stuffed. It’s a meal that “sticks to your bones,” as my aunt would say. I’ll definitely make this again. And I don’t even miss my regular glass of wine.
At the end of day two, I’m feeling much more successful than day one...but there are still five full days of this. Oh God.
I plan to take another workout class this morning, but it doesn’t start until 8 a.m. so I have more time to enjoy a cup of coffee and make a smoothie for later. I’m really liking this early-morning quiet time, although I still haven’t been able to do much S.O. bonding time. (But truth be told, sitting with a purring cat on your lap and another at your feet is hard to beat, even if your husband co-created Pose and Am
My post-workout smoothie contains almond butter, almond milk, mango, spinach and banana, and it’s thoroughly...fine. I’m glad I can switch off between my smoothie and my tangerine-flavored GoopGlow water, a method that makes this sad breakfast feel ever so slightly more satisfying. I will admit, however, that I’m beginning to appreciate the ease of eating breakfast on the move. I just wish it was a bacon, egg and cheese rather than soupy banana water.
How am I already hungry again? It’s time to break out a peanut butter protein bar. I’ve resisted so far because protein bars often taste like chewy, clumpy protein powder to me. I’m hoping Gwyneth’s fancy refrigerated bars will surpass my expectations.
The only brand I’m able to find is Perfect Bar, which may or may not be the brand GP is obsessed with but also doesn’t remember. This peanut butter–flavored bar doesn’t look all that appealing and it tastes about as good as it looks. Thank goodness for the little crunchy bits of peanut in there. (And yes, I do keep a mini fridge under my desk, although it’s usually filled with more cheese.)
I’m still working my way through the protein bar. Maybe it’s a little bit of Stockholm syndrome, but the flavor slowly starts to grow on me.
I microwave my savory oats from last night, minus the egg, and it’s just as delicious as it was yesterday. (I seriously regret not bringing an egg to work, though. My stomach is eating itself.)
I find myself really looking forward to my green tea and salty snack (cashews for today), mostly because they fill a very important gap between an early lunch and what will inevitably, despite my best efforts, be a later dinner. The green tea is also surprisingly refreshing and reviving; much more than an afternoon coffee.
That said, the full feeling I have after lunch and again after my snack isn’t lasting and I’m still craving sugar like all hell. Although it wasn’t a goal of mine, I’m pretty sure keeping this up would cause me to lose weight.
After spending a full half hour complaining to my boyfriend about how I did not want to cook and I needed french fries, he finally convinced me that the recipe I’d chosen for tonight literally takes 20 minutes (shorter than we had been talking) and I should just suck it up and do it already.
I made Gwyneth Paltrow’s easy frittata with beet greens. I did have to ask someone at Whole Foods to help me find beet greens, and now I also need to find a recipe that involves beets, but it was really good. The mix of colors made this a pretty dish too. (One thing to note: Wash the greens thoroughly to rinse away any grit and to keep them from clumping together.) In retrospect, I think I put too many greens in, so if I were to make this again I might mix up the ratio a bit. I’d also add bacon and cheese, but I doubt Paltrow would approve of such a thing unless I’d had one too many Gibsons the night before.
I go to bed feeling light and full(ish), but wishing I’d eaten a plate full of buffalo wings and waffle fries instead of good-for-me greens. I dream about cutting my experiment short and making tomorrow the final day of GP Week.
I wake up and truly enjoy my glass of water. At this point, I’m fully convinced it’s the best way to start the day. It’s so refreshing and makes me feel awake and happy, and I’ll definitely continue doing this past GP Week. I make coffee and sit down with my cats to ease my way into the day. I could get very used to this morning routine.
I drink my GoopGlow water on the way to work. I’ve also packed a blueberry cauliflower smoothie made with dates, almond milk and almond butter from Gwyneth’s most recently published cookbook, The Clean Plate: Eat, Reset, Heal, to drink when I get there.
As it turns out, I do not like dates. And I certainly do not approve of putting cauliflower in a smoothie. Riced? Sure. Chopped and roasted? Definitely. Battered and fried? Count me in. But blended into a liquid? Never. Again. I force the rest of the smoothie down, but I’m not happy about it.
I get stuck in a meeting, so I guess I’ll be eating lunch closer to 1:30 p.m. I grab another protein bar and discover that it’s not quite so bad the second time around.
There were no leftovers from last night’s minimalist frittata, so I treat myself to another salad from Sweetgreen that mimics one of the recipes on Goop: shredded kale, organic carrot, roasted sweet potato and toasted almonds. I add some shredded cabbage (for color and vegetable diversity) and some wild rice (because I’m in desperate need of additional carbohydrates).
Who knew I’d grow to love green tea so much? Salted almonds are certainly yummy, but the recommended serving size leaves me wanting more after just an hour (possibly 45 minutes).
After just three days of carefully prepared dinners, I crack. In a split-second decision (which in actuality I’d been dreaming about for two days now), I indulge in a Gwyneth-style cheat meal. My boyfriend and I have “dinner” at Pommes Frites, a restaurant in the West Village that serves only french fries and a bunch of dipping sauces, followed by multiple glasses of dry white wine. In my excitement to gorge myself on deep-fried potatoes and kick back some much-missed wine, I forget to take photos. And while I definitely feel bloated after my super high-carb extravagance, I’m also so, so happy.
The next morning, I realize I’m dreading powering through another breakfast-deficient morning, minimalist lunch and evening spent cooking. I very much want to be done. So rather than continue on in hanger, I decide to call it quits on GP Week. Fries forever.
So how does Gwyneth's diet compare to my usual day-to-day?
Gwyneth, girl, you need to start eating a real breakfast. Especially if you’re working out in the morning. I consistently felt like my energy stores were reaching a deep low before lunch, and even then, my lunch only brought me back up to about 60 percent. I definitely felt that I looked trimmer at the end of the four days, but as I didn’t actually weigh myself, I’m not entirely sure. It also wasn’t something I was necessarily hoping to achieve here. On the other hand, I didn’t have any new breakouts over those four days (probably due to the lack of processed sugar), which is a major coup for my acne-prone skin.
In the end, I didn’t find Gwyneth’s day-to-day to be very sustainable. Perhaps if I’d increased the serving sizes at lunch or dinner, or even better, if I’d added in a true breakfast (like those savory oats I haven’t been able to stop thinking about), I wouldn’t have felt so drained. I was also spending far too much time counting down the clock until my next meal, which isn’t really how I want to spend my day.
On the plus side, since completing my GP Week (well, four days of it), I’ve been starting my days with a large glass of cold water, sipping on green tea in the afternoons and cooking a bit more often. I’ve been trying hard to prevent my sugar addiction from creeping back in, but those bowls of candy scattered across the office make it pretty difficult. I’ve also been better about really thinking about my meals and trying to incorporate more Gwyneth-approved ingredients.
Gwyneth certainly has the right idea about a lot of things—easy and delicious dinner recipes, afternoon snacks, red-carpet dresses—but breakfast is not one of them. Will someone on the Goop team please bring her a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich tomorrow? Even if she hasn’t had any Japanese whiskey the night before?